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A Project of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
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Start of Main ContentVarying Knowledge Levels of Participants

One of the lessons CSOM has learned in delivering training in a variety of settings is that often the participants in the training represent a wide spectrum of experience and knowledge on the topic of sex offender supervision. Some participants may be newly-minted probation officers who have never before supervised a case load, much less a sex offender case load. Other participants may be seasoned officers who have educated themselves on sex offender supervision issues and who have extensive experiences with offenders, with treatment providers, and with victims.

It is suggested that anyone planning a training that will utilize the following curriculum materials take steps to make the training meaningful to the specific audience. You may want to survey participants in advance, if possible, to develop a better sense of their experience and knowledge levels. If there is a wide variety, you may consider clustering participants of similar experience levels into discussion groups. This would allow seasoned officers to exchange ideas, react to the materials presented, and provide support to one another. At the same time, very inexperienced officers could work through the material at a similar pace, guided by a trainer and/or facilitator.

Or, you might take a different approach, deliberately mixing participants of different levels of experience. In this instance, you should explain that you have chosen to do so, and invite the participants to exchange ideas. More junior officers can feel free to query those who have more knowledge and experience.